This was Eden a year ago. The chair she’s sitting on is in the garage of our rental covered with smoke. I didn’t think to pull out the table which was still intact and in our front hall. It came from Paul’s grandmother and I always liked its silhouette.
We went back to the house twice the day of the fire. The first to meet with the fire investigator and the Sheriff and the second because my brother-in-law, David wanted to pull out any paintings that could be saved. Paul and I were both reluctant to return again. Both of just wanted to walk away. Christopher was upset about not being able to gather any of his belongings so the four of us drove over and walked through the wreckage. I gathered some of my antique bowls and looked for items that would be meaningful to the children, but it was hard to focus. There wasn’t anything I wanted. All of it was dead to me.
We would return several more times for various meetings and we would gather things. Each time we would reach a point where we had to go, when it became to painful to stay. It wasn’t always a conscious sorrow. Sometimes it was a heaviness, an overwhelming exhaustion.
It is a strange experience to lose so many of your belongings. Like any loss there are the stages of grief and the tricks your mind plays, the surprises that are, often, more confusing than painful.
In the early days, while still living at my sister-in-law’s I moaned, “And I just bought that cinnamon at Costco!” My brother-in-law, Thom, laughed because he had never heard me complain about losing any thing else. That is was a spice that I bemoaned amused him. But anyone who knows how big that container is, never mind that I had filled two separate shakers, one for my spice drawer and one that lived next to the cereals and I sprinkled on my morning oatmeal.
That’s the way it is. As we remember we mourn. I didn’t care to salvage that little pink table when I could have, but now I wish I had and regret that I didn’t.